May 2018 News

Supreme Court Transfers Kathua Case To Pathankot For Fair Trial

7 May 2018

New Delhi: There will be no CBI inquiry into the Kathua gangrape and murder case for now but its trial will be transferred to a court in Punjab's Pathankot, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The court said fear and a fair trial cannot exist together. 'Proceedings will be held every day. No adjournments. No other court will hear the case,' said the top court that will also monitor the trial closed to the press and the public. The father of the eight-year-old victim had said the atmosphere in Jammu was highly polarised for a fair trial. This was after rallies were held to back the eight persons accused of kidnapping, drugging, raping and battering to death the nomad child in Jammu's Kathua in January. Local lawyers had also tried to obstruct filing of the chargesheet in the case that triggered global condemnation. The accused had sought a CBI inquiry, saying the Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch had framed them. They had also demanded that the trial should say in Kathua. The apex court said on Monday that the trial must be fair to the victim's family as well as the accused. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra allowed the J&K government to appoint a public prosecutor and asked it to provide security to the victim's family, its lawyers and witnesses. The trial will be held according to the provisions of Ranbir Penal Code, applicable in J&K. J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday said that the court's decision would boost the morale of the state police that had left 'no stone unturned' to ensure that the victim's family gets justice. The top court had warned on April 26 that it would transfer the case from the Kathua court in the 'slightest possibility' of an unfair trial. The case has also left J&K's politics deeply divided. A week ago, when BJP's Kavinder Gupta became the state's new Deputy Chief Minister, he shocked everyone by saying that Kathua was a small incident and should not be given much hype. The same day, Mufti's government also inducted in its council of ministers BJP's Kathua MLA, Rajiv Jasrotia, who was allegedly seen in support of those accused of the horrific crime. On April 13, two BJP ministers had to quit after they were seen at a rally that sought a CBI probe so that no 'injustice' was done to the accused that include two policemen and a juvenile. About a month ago, anger, shock and protests swept India when chilling details of the case emerged for the first time. A new law for death to those raping children below 12 came into force in India on April 22, in response to days of unspeakable brutalities and subsequent outrage across states, but cases continue to pour in from various parts of the country.